Overcoming obstacles

Most barriers to evangelism come through fear. But two biblical principles overcome these barriers. First, have confidence in the God who lives inside you. Realize that God gave you the gifts you need for the job. Don’t compare yourself with others who seem to have greater evangelistic gifts than you. Evangelism isn’t a “one size fits all” ministry. God gives out different gifts and uses people different ways. You have a unique personality and style that God wants to use in your sphere of influence. Be confident in the Holy Spirit within you! Such confidence will overcome fear.

Second, be ready. If you’re already prepared to share the Gospel when an opportunity arises, your expectancy will trump your fear! In fact, Paul tells us that God’s armor includes the shoes of “the preparation of the gospel of peace” [Eph 6:15, NASB]. If you get ready each morning to share the Gospel that very day, you will be far more likely to “make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel” [Eph 6:19]. Arm yourself with readiness!

Endowed with power from above

Before you step out into the harvest field, make sure you have received the full measure of the Holy Spirit. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses … [Acts 1:8, NIV].

Then, as with a fountain, His power will flow through you like gushing water. Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” [John 7:37-38, NIV].

If you are not baptized with the Holy Spirit, pray that the Lord will fill you till you overflow [Luke 11:13; Acts 2:4]. Then pray regularly in the Holy Spirit to build yourself up in faith [1 Cor 14:4, 15; Jude 20]. God’s Spirit gives us courage to speak His Word, as well as power to open hearts and heal bodies [Acts 4:31].

Nothing is more convincing than your own testimony

One of the most effective ways to share the Gospel is to share your personal testimony. I suggest you write out your testimony so you can hand it to people when your time to talk is limited. Your testimony is the story about how you came to know the Lord. So, whether in written form or conversation, explain a bit about your past, how the Lord came into your life, and how He radically transformed you. People love stories. Jesus used stories to teach the crowds, and Paul often shared his testimony as a vehicle for the Gospel [Acts 22:3-16; 26:9-18]. Your story of salvation can be a precious gift to others.

He taught them many things by parables … [Mark 4:2, NIV].

They overcame [the accuser] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death [Rev 12:11, NIV].

Prophetic evangelism

For your testimony to be powerful, you must rely on the Holy Spirit and not on your own abilities or words. Only the Holy Spirit can convince people of their sins and their need for a Saviour. Only the Holy Spirit can open the human heart to the Gospel [Acts 16:14]. We need Holy Spirit power!

So, ask the Lord for supernatural guidance when the door opens to witness to someone. Pray that He give you a word, image, insight, question or something else to share. If your impression carries any significance for the person with whom you are speaking, ask if you may pray for him or her. Be patient and allow the Lord to connect with that person’s heart. Then watch His power work through you.

I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power [1 Cor 2:3-5].

An effective witness for Christ

Some Christians get discouraged about witnessing because they do not possess a certain kind of personality. They feel they must be naturally fearless or outgoing. But God enables every believer to be an effective witness for Christ, no matter what kind of “magnetism” he or she has. Compassion for the lost is far more important than our personality type! People need God’s love more than they need charm or clever words.

Also remember that your effectiveness does not depend on the other person’s response. People usually need several contacts with Christians before they surrender to Jesus.

Your interaction may be one of several pieces of the puzzle that God is putting together in a person’s life.

One day it will all come together when he or she accepts Jesus Christ as Lord. So don’t get discouraged when someone is not yet ready to make that commitment. God is at work. There may be ten different people God is using to reach that person, and each is irreplaceable. Focus on the Gospel and God’s love for that person’s soul, rather than your own “success.”

So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it [Isa 55:11].

Sharing the Gospel of Jesus with People of Other Religions

Christians are often intimidated to approach people of other religions in order to evangelize them. So here are two tips to overcome that fear. First, remember that God is with you, and loves these people as much as He loves everyone else. No religious stronghold is more powerful than the Spirit of God! Sometimes all it takes is to remember these truths and break the barrier of conversation. Then let the Spirit lead you as we discussed earlier.

Second, keep in mind that many people of other religions are open to talk about matters of faith. Use their interest in spiritual matters to bridge the gap between you. Realize, too, that people of other religions often have a distorted view of the Christian faith (like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, devotion to Mary, big empty churches, worldliness, etc.). You may need to clarify some of these issues, but that would also be a way to proclaim the message of Jesus. Trust the power of the Gospel to overcome deception!

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” [Rom 1:16-17].

The Road to Salvation in Romans

Follow these passages from Romans (NIV) to walk someone through the steps of salvation:

All have sinned

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. [Romans 3:23]

Sin’s eternal consequences

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23]

God’s unfailing love that provides salvation

But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:8]

Confess and believe

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [Romans 10:9]

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. [Romans 10:13]

Leave the past behind you

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [Romans 5:1, 8:1]

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